By Valen Gitonga.
We the educated youth of today are a generation plagued by voter apathy, with politics seen as a dirty and off-putting relic of our fathers. 2022 has brought about a chilling reality. The next president will rule till 2032. If that does not make you shiver a bit then you have not grasped the enormity of the matter.
Our abhorrence of politics has let crooked politicians buy their way to power through ill-gotten gains, whether from drug-dealing, corruption or laundering. To make matters worse in such a blatant way that it has become ingrained in the electoral culture. You will hear phrases like, “Just take money from the politicians but vote for who is right”. Well that might work in an ideal world, but not one which has been conditioned to politicians being glorified buccaneers. Eat where you can, an honest living has never been a livable option that is the Kenyan mentality now. They are all liars anyway, why vote for someone who will not share the loot. These days you steal millions as a civil servant but end up being elected Governor come the next elections, we let this happen and the wily politicians took advantage mercilessly.
We youth who followed the “proper path”, studied hard and went through university or college because apparently a degree guarantees a job, are facing a terrible situation of our own making. The disheartening truth is these documents do not even get one past the watchman at the gate let alone an unpaid internship. The name of the game these days is networking, woe unto you who depends on merit alone in this age of “knowing someone”. Further, look at the current political campaign messages and notice something interesting, no one politically cares for us.
No one is really championing our specific issues, no one is talking about the thousands of graduates from universities only to find out education really was not the key, no one cares that graduates are prowling traffic jams holding out signs needing jobs to at least start paying off massive debt. Yes we want the next government to control inflation, yes we feel for the plight of the farmers, yes we want more infrastructure, yes you will provide jobs for the semi-skilled workers but what about us?
Though we cannot blame you, we have been so uninvolved in politics that you have realized we barely matter. Why craft a few more campaigns for a demographic that will not vote. That our demographic boasts as one truly free of division by tribal lines, is sadly contrasted by our general indifference to the power of elections and politics in its entirety. In a parallel world the loud woke youth of Twitter rally the masses against corrupt officials, disgraced leaders and force politicians to conduct themselves so as to not only uphold their own honor but also exhibit a sense of service. This reality though, social media has been turned into a means of gas-lighting, a factory of fake news, politically sponsored bloggers and an easier means to divide us. The politicians could not be happier.
In the international stage there are persistent growing fears of a recession complemented by the looming war in Ukraine, internally these are further compounded by the massive looting in government and the hijacking of the state machinery by a few cartels, these and many more factors point to the next few years being history-defining. Well it is not an overstatement to say the coming years will determine the fate of our young nation whether for good or the now increasingly likely the terrible. Let us not be on the sidelines when our generation’s destiny is decided.